51% women in STEM expect flexible/remote work policies: Report

55% employers are offering flexible work hours

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It is true that India Inc. is increasing efforts to attract women employees. A significant 33 per cent of employers feel that providing flexible roles can impact hiring and retention of STEM women employees in the workforce. But what do STEM women professionals expect from their employers?

As per the report, the top three expectations of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) women employees from the organisation they would join are flexibility, maternity benefits and learning and development (L&D) opportunities.

A significant 51 per cent STEM women expect flexible and remote work policies, while 45 per cent expect maternity/paternity policies. About 44 per cent look forward to L&D opportunities.

While more married women seek maternity/paternity policies, both married and unmarried women expect flexible/remote work policies. Unmarried women have a higher expectation for mentorship opportunities from and innovation mindset in their employers.

What do women in STEM expect from their employers?

While 52 per cent of the STEM women surveyed expect flexible / remote work policies from their potential employers, 44 per cent expect L&D opportunities. About 27 per cent seek quick growth in career, while 36 per cent look for opportunities to lead. Mentorship opportunities are sought by 16 per cent STEM women, while 49 per cent expect maternity / paternity policies. About 33 per cent expect their employers to diversity and inclusion, CST and sustainability as part of their company values. About 39 per cent women in STEM prefer employers that focus on innovation, while 22 per cent expect a great compensation.

What do married women in STEM expect from their employers?

While 58 per cent of married women in STEM expect flexible / remote work policies, 41 per cent expect L&D opportunities and 23 per cent look for quick career growth. About 32 per cent expect opportunities to get into leadership roles, while 16 per cent expect mentorship opportunities. A significant 61 per cent expect maternity / paternity policies, while 25 per cent expect their employers to have D&I, CSR and sustainability as part of their company values. Only about 12 per cent of married women in STEM expect a great compensation from their employers.

What do unmarried women in STEM expect from their employers?

A good number (44 per cent) of the single / unmarried STEM professionals expect great compensation from their employers. Only about 43 per cent expect flexibility or remote working policies. Whie 42 per cent expect L&D opportunities, only 27 per cent expect quick growth in their careers. About 17 per cent expect leadership roles and 44 per cent expect mentorship opportunities. A significant 47 per cent expect their employers to focus on innovation. Only 30 per cent expect maternity / paternity policies.

Clearly, women in STEM expect employers to prioritise work-life balance, women/family-friendly policies, and an L&D environment

According to the report, top consulting firms are willing to employ an average of 35-40 per cent women in their workforce. To do so, they are willing to offer flexible schedules to expectant and new mothers, as well as mentoring programmes.

An encouraging 69 per cent of Indian organisations plan to focus more on gender diversity in the next year or year and a half. About 63 per cent of the companies surveyed already have specific policies in place to hire more women.

Companies are chasing a target of accomplishing a gender diversity ratio of 29.9 by 2023. In 2022, the target was 23.6.

Employers are improving gender diversity in the workplace through various measures. While 55 per cent are offering flexible work hours, 50 per cent are offering alternative work models.

About 31 per cent of employers are introducing programmes to attract second-career women qualified in STEM for job opportunities. A good 72 per cent of small/medium enterprises believe in offering flexible work schedules, while 54 per cent of micro enterprises are considering alternate work models to attract STEM women employees to improve gender diversity.

Interestingly, about 56 per cent of Indian firms and 62 per cent of multinationals plan to hire women. About 37 per cent startups plan to hire more women throughout the year, while 75 per cent of small/medium enterprises plan to hire more women in their workforces. Women account for 36 per cent of the total information technology workforce in India. That means, in spite of the changing world of work, women remain underrepresented.

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